By Jovana Saveva (YES 2014-2015, North Macedonia, placed by AYA in Kansas City, MO)
On November 4-6, the Young Developers and Entrepreneurs to Advance Start-ups (YDEAS) Regional Ideathon, organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), took place in Ohrid, North Macedonia. Under the motto “inspire, connect, and enable,” this three-day-long event split 70 participants from the Western Balkans into four groups that would engage in four simultaneous learning laboratories. Theresa Albano, OCEEA Economic Affairs officer and YDEAS project manager, explained that the purpose was “to trigger a socially and environmentally mindful digital revolution that will act as a catalyst of cooperation with local authorities, universities, and regional organizations.”
Among the topics discussed, David Joseph, the data analyst of MyGrants, helped the participants explore the untapped potential that Micro Data offers toward improving employment prospects. MyGrants matches job opportunities with skilled applicants while purposefully not including the nationality and gender of the applicant, thereby creating equal opportunities for the candidates and "turning adversity into an opportunity," as Chris Richmond, the founder of MyGrants, says.
In the second laboratory, participants witnessed the fifth-generation prototype of Hydrogenio, a solution for producing efficient energy through electrolysis that could lower pollution significantly. They also had the opportunity to build a Hydrogenio from scratch. Under the supervision of the trainer and inventor, Claudio Lipodio, participants created a low-cost technology that could help tackle environmental challenges and decrease pollution.
In the third laboratory, Volodymyr Kondzolka, director of Drohobych City Institute from Ukraine, presented an intelligent approach to improving community through digitalization in areas such as hospitality & tourism, the medical systems, education, and administration, thereby creating a more efficient community operating through better channels of communication.
The last workshop was my favorite: the power of storytelling and creating the perfect pitch idea, with the facilitation of a trainer with experience in theatre and business, Sergio Basso. Basso is a talented scriptwriter and an internationally award-winning theatre and movie director. Using his theatrical experience, Basso enhanced the presenting skills of the participants.
Nominated by the YES Alumni Association to represent the American Councils, Rina Osmani and David Mladenovski contributed to the workshop with their experience, creativity, and vision. These YES alumni became close with many participants from different organizations and opened a dialogue of valuable thoughts and ideas. David’s impersonating skills and Rina’s storytelling improvisation abilities were only some of the highlights during their workshop which focused on how to pitch a business.
Once the workshop ended, participants joined a new meta-verse network, Lonac, that allows them to maintain their connections, create future meetings, and potentially collaborate in entrepreneurial and social ventures together. Participants realized then that the workshop was only the beginning and left the conference ready to inspire, connect and enable.
Rina Osmani (YES 2018-2019, North Macedonia, placed by Greenheart Exchange in North Yarmouth, ME)
David Mladenovski (YES 2019-2020, North Macedonia, placed by American Councils in Honolulu, HI)